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Alternative Service Program

The Military Selective Service Act (MSSA), 50 U.S.C 3806(j) designates the Director of Selective Service responsible for finding civilian work for persons exempt from training and service. Those exempt from training and service are called Conscientious Objectors.  Conscientious Objectors by reason of religious training and belief, are conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form. A person who is granted an exemption for Conscientious Objector to combatant service shall be inducted into the armed forces and assigned to noncombatant service. A person who is granted an exemption Conscientious Objector to all military service shall participate in civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest of the United States.

See Conscientious Objectors

The Director of Selective Service has established the Alternative Service Program (ASP) to manage those granted Conscientious Objector to all military service. All Conscientious Objectors are assigned civilian work for a period of 24 months, the same amount of time prescribed to those who are conscripted. All civilian work performed shall contribute to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest of the United States.

Alternative Service Employer Network (ASEN)

The Alternative Service Employer Network is a pool of approved civilian employers who agree to provide places of employment for period of 24 months to Alternative Service Workers.

Alternative Service Worker (ASW)

Alternative Service Workers are individuals you have been granted Conscientious Objector to all military service by their Local Board or Appeal Board. Conscientious Objectors are called Alternative Service Workers after their claim is granted and enter the Alternative Service Program.

Note : The criteria for classification “Conscientious Objector” is codified in the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA).  See 50 U.S.C. § 3806(j).  The Supreme Court, relying on the First Amendment to the Constitution, has set forth a definition that expands and clarifies the criteria for exemption under § 3806(j).

 

See Relevant Court Cases

Alternative Service Employer Network (ASEN)

In any return to conscription the Director of Selective Service is responsible for finding alternative civilian work for registrants who have been exempted from military service and training because of conscientious objection to both combatant and noncombatant military service. The Director will place these registrants with members of the Alternative Service Employer Network (ASEN), a pool of eligible civilian employers who agree to provide jobs to Alternative Service Workers (ASWs) in a draft. The work offered by these employers must contribute to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest.

Eligible Employers

Employers considered appropriate for ASW assignments are limited to:

  • The U.S. Government or a state, territory, or possession of the United States or a political subdivision thereof, the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • Organizations, associations, or corporations primarily engaged either in a charitable activity conducted for the benefit of the general public or in carrying out a program for the improvement of the public health, welfare, or environment, including educational and scientific activities in support of the program, when such activity or program is not principally for the benefit of the members of such organization, association, or corporation or for increasing the membership thereof.

Appropriate Employment

Employment programs or activities generally considered to be appropriate for Alternative Service work include:

  • Health care services, including but not limited to hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, clinics, mental health programs, hospices, community outreach programs, and hotlines.
  • Educational services, including but not limited to teachers, teacher’s aides, counseling, administrative support, parent counseling, recreation, remedial programs, and scientific research.
  • Environmental programs, including but not limited to conservation and firefighting, park and recreational activities, pollution control and monitoring systems, and disaster relief.
  • Social services, including but not limited to sheltered or handicapped workshops, vocational training or retraining programs, senior citizens activities, crisis intervention, and poverty relief.
  • Community services, including but not limited to fire protection, public works projects, sanitation services, school or public building maintenance, correctional facility support programs, juvenile rehabilitation programs.
  • Agricultural work.

Identifying Employers

In peacetime, Selective Service makes contact with potential employers. Those outreach efforts increase during mobilization when Selective Service will seek the assistance of existing members of its ASEN, charitable institutions, public agencies, religious groups, and community leaders. In addition, organizations desiring to employ ASWs will be encouraged to submit written requests to SSS.

Employment Agreements

Selective Service will negotiate employment agreements with prospective employers with the objective of obtaining an adequate number of agreements to assure the timely placement of all ASWs.